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on 22 December 2002
This book was written in German and first published in 1937, but if you're expecting a turgid and dated account, think again! The writing is crisp and pacy, and soon sucks you in to the author's absolute passion for his subject.
This book describes the theory of "Blitzkrieg" as we now know it (although this word is a journalist's invention), and explains how the theory was developed. The tank engagements of the Great War are analysed in detail, and the contribution of other branches of the army, and to a lesser extent the air force, examined.
Guderian argues convincingly for the mechanization of infantry and artillery - in contrast to the narrow parochial arguments of the majority of his contemporaries, and considers supply, transport, paratroops (also untested in 1937), smoke and chemical weapons etc.
The most fascinating thing about this book is that although it reads like an incisive historical account, it was actually written BEFORE the start of the Second World War, when the arguments contained in the book were more or less pure theory.
There are perhaps a few places where Guderian exaggerates his case, but in the context of a still contraversial theory which had yet to be generally accepted, his sales pitch is remarkably restrained.
The maps tend to be sketch quality, however there are some nice black and white plates (about 40 photographs) mostly depicting early armour. These must have been added later as one of the photographs shows the 1940 paratroop drop on Rotterdam.
A thoroughly remarkable book that predicted the future with remarkable accuracy.
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'Achtung-Panzer' is a significant piece of military history.

Written in 1937 by Heinz Guderian, a World War I veteran, member of the German General Staff, and later a General in WWII - the book explores the application of motorized warfare (largely unexplored at the time of its publication), and argues for the use of tanks, highly mobile mechanized infantry, aircraft and paratroopers in what would later be coined 'Blitzkrieg', otherwise known as 'combined-arms' warfare.

The first half of the book explores the mistakes made by all of the belligerents of WWI, including trench warfare and the obsolesence of horse mounted cavalry in the face of advancements in artillery and the invention of the machine gun, which allowed even inferior numbers of less skilled combatants to easily repel a superior attacking force. Clearly something would have to give if subsequent conflicts were to avoid the wastage and stalemate encountered in the trench war, and that 'something' in Guderians opinion was the tank - the application of which he explores throughout the majority of the book.

The book goes into incredible detail and explores such issues as the effect of the Treaty of Versailles on Germanys ability to develop mechanized forces as well as Guderians own beliefs as to the best applications for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. It is well researched as Guderian was a scholar who was fluent in both English and French and spent much of his time studying the works of British maneuver warfare theorists J. F. C. Fuller, Giffard Martel and B.H. Liddell Hart, whom are credited in this work. The fact that the ideas presented in the book clearly heavily influenced the military actions of Germany during the Second World War is testament to its significance.

This is not a technical manual, and there is very little description or investigation into individual models of tanks themselves or the people who piloted them, however even though this was a theoretical work it avoids being 'stuffy' and is a surprisingly easy read. My only criticism is that most of the many maps included in the book lack detail or are difficult to read.
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on 21 June 2005
This book is a great buy for anyone with even a passing interest in tank warfare. From those who do it for a hobby to the serious military historian, this book is recommended to anyone who either want to see why the German Panzers did so well in the 1939-1941 period, or wish to study how the tank became such a dominating force in land warfare for half a century, or simply want to read how the tank turned from a slow, unreliable, subbordinate arm of the army to the fast, decisive force it became. The editor's introduction is helpful in giving pointers for Guderian's main points, as well as clarifying for the confused reader what Guderian was saying. A must-buy for any budding military historian.
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on 25 May 2013
A must read if you are planning a lightning invasion of Poland or France just don't deceive yourself it is going to work in Russia as well
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This is a great book . It is little wonder that France fell in a mere six weeks in 1940 given that the French High Command had the author of this book as its adversary ! This book is a classic of military history . Guderians thoughts as to how blitzkrieg would be carried out are fully developed and laid out in this illuminating textbook of how to conduct 'lightning war' - what a shame this book was little read outside of Germany during the 1930s . While Guderians observations on how a future war should be fought are the most important aspects of this book , an interesting aside is his analaysis of British tank deployment in the second half of World War One . This is a book every student of military history should read . Heinz Guderian is one of the most important figuares in military history : it is vital to read the thinking that earned him his place in that history .
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on 31 August 2012
Magnificient book in which Gen.Guderian draws the conclusions from the 1st world war and prophetise the way war would be done in the next decades.
His theories applied would win most of Germany's achievment in WWII.

A must read for anybody interested in military history, but probably too technical for general history readers.
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on 31 August 2009
Guderian puts across what at the time were revolutionary ideas in an easily read book, written in just a few weeks. This is an excellent insight into the thinking of probably the most influencial tatician of the 20th Century and accuratly predicts methods that became commonplace in conflicts from France in 1940 to the Iraqi desert in 1991 and 2003.
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on 29 May 2012
Seeing the praise the other reviews gave 'Achting-Panzer!', I immediately jumped at the opportunity to purchase it. It seemed like a revered classic, the first true book about the basis of modern tank warfare, and the personal handbook of the infamous panzer commanders throughout the second world war. However, the book was not everything I expected.

For the first part, the first 160 pages of the book seemed like history, and were the vessel of the actual reason why Guderian wrote this book: to promote the tank to the higher command so that more would be ordered and the panzer arm of Germany would grow along with the other arms of the army. Thus, he commonly quotes times and battles in the first world war (E.g. Cambrai) in order to show the higher command that the tank was one of the factors that forced Germany into submission, and how only by learning from their defeats and using this new technology will Germany be able to conduct a viable land campaign.

It is really only on page 160 when he starts going into detail on how formations should be crafted, and also puts great stress on the necessity of how all arms of the military should co-operate with the tanks to achieve a total and complete victory. It is from here on that I started to be truly interested in the book and learned a great deal about the original tactics of tank warfare.

All in all, I would recommend this book to a wide range of audiences that are interested in history of WW1, the development of tanks and their tactics, or both which definatly gives this book a good rating. However, I believe that the actual interesting tactical information that I was actually after was crammed into less than 60 pages at the very end of the book. Although to some degree justifiable (as his whole theory of tactics were simply theoretical reasoning), this fact did disappoint me somewhat so I am only prepared to give it 4 stars.
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on 7 January 2016
detailed thoughts from Guderian. If youre a WWII nut this is an interesting read, more than your average war biography or manual. Adds a lot of context and detail to the history we all know about.
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on 23 November 2007
Magnificent book, even if it's written before the war. It's amazing how someone ideas can be put to work so sucsefuly. One of the great generals of WWII.
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